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How Mathematics Curiosity Has Brought Me to Computer Science

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It was the success after numerous failed attempts at solving a problem that I discovered the art of problem-solving. Ever since then my every problem has become a challenge to unravel the reasoning behind its apparent mysteriousness. This has fostered in me, an ever-growing desire for solving these conundrums. In order to satiate my intellectual curiosity, I turned towards Mathematics competitions to explore mathematics problems unrestrained by any curriculum. Various mathematics competitions such as IBA’s Mathematika III, in which I led my team to the top 10 teams in Karachi, and the Kangaroo Math Competition, in which I ranked 34th in Pakistan, improved my mathematical reasoning by posing questions that required manipulation of equations and extraction of useful data in an attempt to find solutions to said questions.

My familiarity with inductive proofs from my Further Mathematics curriculum aided me writing my Euclid Mathematics Competition as this competition required well-reasoned mathematical approaches to the problems posed. All these competitions polished my mathematical intuition and strengthened my cognitive skills; eventually, I was awarded the Further Mathematics Prize for having the highest cumulative grades in the entire year group. For me, the study of Mathematics has been particularly crucial in the study of Computer Sciences. It has taught me how to obtain rigorous solutions to complex questions by simplifying the amount of work done to reach the solution.

To me, Computer Sciences is distinctly very appealing; mainly because, when programming, I am no longer just solving a problem, but I am designing a solution. Though I was introduced to the beauty of Computer Sciences through O and A level course, my real captivation to the subject stimulated as I came across an online course ‘CS50: An Introduction to Computer Sciences’ by Harvard University. I was introduced to the art of programming as the course transitioned from using Scratch to C, to Python. But more importantly it taught me to use and appreciate concepts such as Binary Search, where in order to find a value in a sorted array you practically divide the problem into half, and Recursion, which involves a function calling itself controlled by selection statements as it breaks a problem down into smaller subproblems eventually leading to a solution. In the end, I was not only able to design and implement solutions to the problems inspired from the world of cryptography, finance, and music but I was also able to think more rigorously, more methodically, more computationally. Participating in Karachi Grammar Science Olympiad as a member of the media team proved particularly crucial in honing my graphic designing skills as I designed numerous logos, posters, and shields for the Olympiad. Later I secured the position as one of the two graphic designers for KGS’s new website.

My month long internship at SZABIST went beyond content update and website design for SZABIST’s website as I took on learning Swift: a new programming language. What started as “Hello, World!” Soon turned into a whole universe of creating instances and methods; defining enumerations for various cases and controlling them by switches; importing the GamePlayKit framework to generate random values; all the way up to using Main. storyboard for creating actions and outlets; linking them to the code and stacking UIButtons and UILabels. All of this knowledge came together to help me build my first ever IOS application of a classic rock, paper, scissors game. By coding for a very long time, I started to see the code as something that is beautiful. It solves a problem in a very interesting way, by having something really elegant about the way it looks.

I taught students of Government Girls Gizri college Math, Computers, and Physics; and it turned out to be as much of learning experience for me as it was for them. Imparting my knowledge familiarised me with framing topics such that they are presented eloquently. I observed how, irrespective of their socio-economic circumstances, they displayed genuine affinity towards the understanding of the subjects.

It made me realise the significance of education for girls in Pakistan. My selection as the Vice President to Cybernetics Society allowed me to initiate coding classes where the girls were especially encouraged to join. I plan to increase the girl turnout ratio in Mathematics Society sessions where I will be acting as one of heads.

Ultimately what matters to me is not how I end up relative to someone else, but where I end up relative to myself from where I first started.

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